Home / Concert Reviews / Jurassic 5 w/ Dilated Peoples, MC Supernatural and Beat Junkies @ The Rave
Friday, July 25, 2014

Jurassic 5 w/ Dilated Peoples, MC Supernatural and Beat Junkies @ The Rave

July 24, 2014

jurassic 5 the rave milwaukee 2014
Photo credit: Alexander Stafford
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Formed at the tail end of hip-hop’s golden age, Los Angeles outfit Jurassic 5 quickly established themselves as torchbearers for old-school fundamentals, finding favor with the back-to-basics alternative rap boom of the late ’90s and early 2000s. After a string of successful albums starting with their 1998 self-titled debut, however, creative differences and, in part, the departure of DJ Cut Chemist caused the group to go their separate ways in 2007. To be honest, it was probably well timed, considering the popularity of conscious rap was on the wane, and by not drawing things out they exited with a great deal of their fans’ goodwill, which has benefited them greatly since they decided to reunite and hit the road in honor of their 20th anniversary.

To their credit, Jurassic 5 stocked what they’ve dubbed the Word of Mouth Tour with a lineup that legitimately makes it feel like a special occasion and not just an opportunistic cash grab. First up were venerable turntablists the Beat Junkies, followed by accomplished battle rapper MC Supernatural, who showed off his impressive freestyle skills, most memorably with a gimmick where he instantly spits about any object the audience hands him. Third was Dilated Peoples, who’ve also taken some time off but are anticipating a comeback with their soon-to-be-released Rhymesayers debut Directors of Photography, the trio’s first new album in eight years. In addition to a sneak peek at the new material, Thursday’s set also featured an impromptu scratch-off between DJ Babu and DJ Abilities when the latter just happened to be in attendance.

The crowd had been growing steadily over the course of the night and was in full effect by the time Jurassic 5 took the stage, emerging one by one as Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark got the beat going. All assembled, they certainly didn’t seem rusty in the least, trading off lines and adding emphasis to each other’s flow with impeccable timing. There were plenty of highlights in their long set, including fan favorites like “Concrete Schoolyard,” “Improvise” and “What’s Golden,” but what stood out most was when they turned things over to the DJs, who rocked out on a series of inventive vinyl-inspired contraptions. One enjoyably weird interlude aside, the bulk of the show consisted of that celebratory old-school sound, which, when this well executed, works no matter what year it is.